Religious tourism is one of the major reasons why Bali is continuously receiving a growing number of international arrivals – making Bali hotels definitely busy with thronging backpackers who came to visit the religious sites in the island. There are so many temples in Bali which are hailed not only because of its religious value, but also due to its splendid architectural designs.
One of the most interesting temple in Bali is the Mother Temple of Besakih. Located in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung, it is hailed as the most important temple in Indonesia. It is a sacred place for worshipers but is a major spectacle for mere tourists.
Stories say that the Mother Temple of Besakih was built during the 14th century. It is the holiest among the temples of Agama Hindu Dharma in the island. It is also hailed as miraculous because during the Mount Agung eruption in 1963, the temple was inexplicably spared by the flowing lava – leaving it safe and standing strong.
The Mother Temple of Besakih consists of a vast complex made up of 22 temples settled on an area fronting a breathtaking mountain view. During early mornings, it produces a spectacular view as its spires seemingly illuminate – reflecting the rays of the rising sun. The temple also has numerous courtyards and brick gateways which lead to the main structure in the complex, the Pura Penataran Agung.
It is indeed a magnificent temple and is undeniably an interesting destination for religious tourists and mere sightseers. But if there is another temple in Bali which could compete with the beauty of the Mother Temple of Besakih and drive tourists off the comfort of their Bali luxury hotels, it would be the Tanah Lot.
The Purah Tanah Lot is a sea temple and is also one of the most significant religious structures in Indonesia. Sitting gloriously in a large rocky island formed by the waves and winds off the shores of the beautiful Denpasar Beach, it is also known as the ‘Temple of Land in the Middle of the Sea.’
Legends say that the Purah Tanah Lot was founded by Nirartha, a 16th century priest who is one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java. Now, it is believed that it is being guarded by the poisonous sea snakes residing in the caves beneath the whole structure.
Only the terraces of the temple are accessible and from it, and a very breathtaking view of the sunset can be obtained. It soothes the souls and calms the tired minds. The view of the vast ocean actually compensates to the fact that tourists cannot enter the main temple. And even though some parts of the rock in which the Purah Tanah Lot stands are already artificial, this beautiful attraction still exudes the same charm that it did years ago.
The Mother Temple of Besakih and the Purah Tanah Lot are only two of the beautiful attractions in Bali. So foreigners need not to think twice.